Today marks the start of Big Energy Saving Week 2024. In our first Q&A of 2024 we are joined by Stuart Wain who dives into the challenges facilities leaders face when delivering energy efficiency projects.
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Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at SEE.
Hi, I’m Stuart Account Director at SEE Services. It’s my role to look after our customers, building effective relationships from the earliest engagement during their procurement processes, through to the service delivery itself. I ensure our systems, processes and people are optimised and I drive innovation across our service delivery too.
In your interactions with customers is energy and energy saving something they are concerned about?
Absolutely, amongst our customers there has been a notable shift towards taking steps towards improving energy efficiency. Typically, we work with the facilities or property management teams and they increasingly have responsibility to deliver energy efficiency schemes, providing tangible solutions that demonstrate the business is sustainable.
What technology solutions are customers implementing to improve their energy efficiency?
The approach businesses are taking towards energy efficiency is largely driven by their buildings, business operations and budgets. Installing LEDs is certainly popular, delivering both cost and carbon savings. Even those customers who previously installed LEDs are able to reduce their energy consumption by around 10% due to the improvements in LED technology in recent years.
HVAC is also an effective way to reduce emissions, and there are lots of great innovations available. For example, existing gas boilers can be replaced with more efficient heat pumps.
In your experience what challenges do facilities managers face when delivering energy efficiency schemes?
It’s no secret that most organisations face budgetary challenges, and as such facilities managers have to make tough choices between sustainable improvements or keeping an asset running as long as possible to save costs. By waiting for an asset to be at the point of failure facilities managers can all too often miss out on opportunities to be innovative and fall into the trap of replacing like with like.
This is further compounded by the separation of budgets within an organisation, for example energy purchase versus CAPEX versus FM budgets. Acting in these budgetary silos can prevent a business taking action, as it fails to appreciate the opportunity holistically. In my role I work with our customers to demonstrate how replacing assets with a more efficient alternative can actually save the organisation money.
What advice would you give to customers who are looking for opportunities to reduce their energy?
All businesses need to develop a strategic plan to manage their buildings. I would advise them to get someone like SEE engaged to perform a sustainability survey across their estate, which will provide valuable insights and recommendations tailored to their specific operations, paving the way for a more impactful and sustainable asset and energy management strategy.
Furthermore, engaging and embedding property and facilities teams, along with facilities providers, within strategic plans is imperative for implementing energy improvements. In doing so we can create a shift in the organisations approach to facilities, from solely maintaining existing structures towards embracing a more innovative approach focused on facilities improvement, which will result in the desired energy efficiency, cost savings and sustainable improvements.